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Institute for Reform and Solutions

Mission: It is the mission of the Institute for Reform and Solutions (IR&S) to promote institutional and organizational change by facilitating balanced debate, cost-effective, evidence-based, and restorative programs, as well as strategically-directed action for solutions which improve systems of justice and services for justice-involved persons and their families.

Community Need:  Annually, some 400+ persons return to the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro, and Augusta and Highland County from VADOC facilities and local jails.  The resources have slightly improved since the inception of the IR&S in late 2012, but are very fragmented and uncoordinated.  Highland County is ill-equipped to provide any significant assistance to this at-risk group; most seek support in the Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County area.

IR&S is committed to address the needs of justice-involved persons and their families, an under-served, disenfranchised population in the community.  Some 50% have no stable or known housing upon release; 98% are well-below the Federal Poverty Line income guidelines, with no family support, and no ready employment nor marketable skills for sustainable financial stability. IR&S is the only local organization which provides comprehensive reentry services, supporting each client in his/her return to the community, and navigate the cascade of obstacles, facing each citizen.

Constituents Served: IR&S serves all justice-involved persons and their families in the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro, and Augusta and Highland County.  (IR&S also serves Harrisonburg, Rockingham, Rockbridge, and Page Counties. However, these individuals are not included within the scope and funds available through this funding request).  IR&S now serves male as well as female offenders.  A total of 274 persons were served, by age ranges, in in the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro, and Augusta and Highland County in 2017: 0-12 (33); 13-18 (19); 19-30 (59); 31-45 (78); 46-65 (47); and 66-75 (38). Of these, 33 were men, 189 women, and 52 children were in the cohort.

Primary Activities: IR&S conducts public forums and special topic seminars, which are well attended by the community, agency representatives, and government stakeholders.  IR&S focuses on a direct, “hands-on” approach with each client to successfully navigate the contorted, reentry roadmap.  Their staff and volunteers meet with individuals in a group setting, delivering a therapeutic methodology which is based on Trauma Informed Care (TIC). The latter is an evidenced based curricula which seeks to address the common effects of childhood trauma which underlie the pathway to criminality and addiction.

IR&S delivers pre and post release therapeutically oriented programs to offenders who are incarcerated, as well as offenders under community supervision. These programs are drawn from bodies of research and reflect evidence-based practices.  Staff and volunteers have cultivated extensive resources to assist justice-involved persons navigate the difficult reentry journey through a broad, community-based network.  IR&S conducts family outreach through informational sessions regarding the criminal justice process, understanding the incarceration experience, and bi-monthly roundtables.

Amount Requested: $8,800

Operating Budget: $128,530

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